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Top Benefits of Flaxseed

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

flaxseed health benefits

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  • Animal research shows people who eat a high-fat diet with flaxseed have more beneficial bacteria in their gut and better glucose control than those eating just high fat (without flaxseed) or a standard diet
  • While flaxseed oil has similar benefits, the oil is not rich in fiber and I recommend using whole flaxseed as the oil is delicate and easily oxidized. If you like to use flaxseed oil, add it to salads and soups but only at the end of the cooking process
  • Flaxseed is the richest known source of plant lignans, which can protect against Type 2 diabetes, help maintain bone density and block the effects of estrogen associated with certain cancers
  • The flax plant is highly adaptable and may be grown in most of the U.S. Whole flaxseed may be stored for up to 12 months in an airtight container and ground in a small coffee bean grinder just prior to use, as the ground product is highly perishable and turns rancid rapidly

The flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) has a long and illustrious history spanning nearly 10,000 years. Remains of flax seeds have been found in Stone Age dwellings in Switzerland and Egypt. The plant reached the U.S. in the 1800s with European settlers and is now grown as a nutritional seed harvest and for fiber used in the making of linen.

Although used historically for centuries, it wasn't commonly found on many shopping lists 10 years ago. Flaxseeds contain more polyphenols than vegetables like olives and lower your risk of serious diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They are available in a brown or yellow variety and are sold either whole, ground or as flaxseed oil.

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